Tax bill watch means double pay in 2023 for some in Morgan County – WLDS

Morgan County is helping an area school district close a shortfall after an oversight earlier this year.

Morgan County commissioners last week unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with Franklin Community Unit School District No. 1 to help close a property tax gap this year.

In 2017, Franklin-area voters approved a bond sale for the district to make certain improvements to school buildings. Morgan County Commissioner Chairman Brad Zeller said that bond comes with a repayment schedule that is added to the tax bill.

Zeller says the Franklin School Board levied for the bond again this year, however, somewhere between the tax levy calculation and the tax bills being printed, the amount of the bond was mistakenly omitted from the Franklin Community School District tax bill for that year.

Zeller says the county is now making up the difference so the Franklin School District can foot the bill. “So since the school board was deducting the amount and it was an error by the clerk, we had the obligation to make their request complete. The amount indicated was, I believe, a little over two hundred and twenty thousand dollars.

So, in essence, the county council will lend this amount of money to the Franklin Community School District for one year. Next year, that money will be clawed back through the tax process and the county will keep it.

Morgan County Clerk Jill Waggener said the tax levy for the Franklin School District that was not included in this year’s bill was due to an oversight in her office. She says everyone in the district has already been informed of the problem.

Next year, on their tax bill, they will see a single amount that we will have to collect the money that they were supposed to have paid this year and they have not. They will still pay that line as usual on their tax bill next year. By the law, we had to send a certified letter to everyone in the Franklin School District around the Franklin area who pays taxes.

Waggener says she has received feedback from letters informing ratepayers of the problem, but they seem to understand the situation. “A few people called me, they were very kind and very understanding. Their main concern was whether they owed more money this year, whether they were going to get another tax bill, did they miss it, etc. So apologies for the incident, it was just an oversight in my office.

The extra line item will be included in next year’s tax bill and then removed from future bills thereafter.

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Elaine R. Knight